Volume CV, No. 4April, 2005

Danny A De SalvoBass

William A DesavouretPiano

Irving DorfmanDrums

Len DorsonSaxophone

Eddie LaytonOrgan

Stuart MacKaySaxophone

George MazzaTrombone

Wayne PedzwaterBass

Paul PuglieseTrumpet

Seymour RosenfeldTrumpet

Dan RussoTrumpet

Tosha SamaroffViolin

Bobby ShortPiano

Gertrude SilverPiano

Jacob J StolzPiano

Dr. Vern WhitneyTrombone/Arranger

Eddie Layton

Eddie Layton, 79, the organist for Yankee Stadium and a Local 802 member since 1952, died on Dec. 26.

Allegro interviewed Mr. Layton in January 2004, right after he retired from the Yankees after playing for 37 years.

Layton told Allegro that a typical day for him would start with the Yankees sending a limo to pick him up. He would eat dinner in the press box, then head to his organ booth, which is between home plate and first base. That was where he played his massive Hammond Colonnade organ. He said that the stadium’s sound system could produce 50,000 watts and that drivers on the George Washington Bridge could hear him if he let them.

When asked how he decided what to play during a game, Mr. Layton told Allegro, “That’s a tough question, because it’s all instinct. I didn’t want to disturb the pitcher from the opposing team or the Yankees. When his foot is on the rubber, the music is out. Usually, I decided to play little ditties for each player based on their name or what team they’re on. When Claudell Washington was with the Yankees, I used to play the ‘Washington Post March.’”

Mr. Layton also said that he preferred to play excerpts from jazz and show tunes, because most rock was “immature music.”

He said he first became interested in the organ when he was in the Navy in the 1950’s and 60’s. There was an organ at the naval base auditorium at Lakehurst Naval/Air Base in New Jersey. “After I saw it and the wonder of it, I started taking lessons on it,” Mr. Layton told Allegro.

Mr. Layton’s job playing for the Yankees was an 802 union gig with pension.

He also performed as the organist for the New York Knicks and Rangers for 18 years, wrote scores for soap operas and played at Radio City Music Hall. Mr. Layton was a member of the New York Sports Hall of Fame.

He never married or had children. The Yankees’ announcement of his death did not list survivors.

The full text of Allegro’s interview with Mr. Layton can be found in the January 2004 issue of Allegro.

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Wayne Pedzwater

Wayne Pedzwater, 48, a bassist and an 802 member since 1981, died on March 16.

Mr. Pedzwater began his career right out of Berklee College of Music when Buddy Rich heard him play and tapped him to be the bass player for the Buddy Rich Orchestra. Eventually, he became a soloist with the band, performing all over the world.

In 1980, he moved to New York City to join the legendary session scene, recording with such artists as John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the “Milk & Honey” album, Jeff Beck and Robert Plant as one of the Honey Drippers, Terence Trent D’Arby, the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson. He also toured with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Paul Simon and Bette Midler to name just a few. His extraordinary talent and musical diversity made him a favorite choice with artists as varied as Garth Brooks, Placido Domingo, Jimmy Webb, David Sanborn, Paul Schaffer, Carole King and Jewel among many others. His bass playing can also be heard on hundreds of commercials, television shows and movie soundtracks.

In addition to his musical talent, he loved the outdoors and was an avid cyclist, averaging 10,000 miles per season.

Mr. Pedzwater is survived by his wife Patty Forbes-Pedzwater, mother Loretta Polczynski, sister Paula Johnson, and nieces, nephews, and extended family.

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Seymour Rosenfeld

Seymour Rosenfeld, 82, died on March 8. He was a trumpeter and had joined Local 802 in 1944.

Mr. Rosenfeld was a trumpeter with the Philadelphia Orchestra for 42 years and a longtime teacher.

After graduating from Arts High School in Newark, N.J., Mr. Rosenfeld got his only professional training at the Curtis Institute on a scholarship in 1940. When he was drafted into the Army in 1942, he played in the Army Band at Camp Maxie, Texas.

In 1943, Mr. Rosenfeld played his horn across the country with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo until landing a job as principal trumpeter for the St. Louis Orchestra.

He played trumpet at Robin Hood Dell East in the summers until earning the position of second trumpeter with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1946.

Mr. Rosenfeld taught for 40 years at Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and gave private lessons to hundreds. He retired in 1988.

He was a charter member of the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble.

Mr. Rosenfeld is survived by his wife Judi, daughters Carol Friedman and Sara, sons Samuel and Philip and seven grandchildren.

This obituary was edited from the one that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Bobby Short

Bobby Short, 80, the pianist and singer, died on March 21. He had been an 802 member since 1960.

Mr. Short was a fixture at his piano in the Carlyle Hotel for more than 35 years, which was an 802 union gig.

He was the ninth of 10 children in a musically inclined family. By age 4, he was playing by ear at the well-worn family piano, recreating songs heard on the radio.

By age 9, the self-taught pianist was performing in saloons around his Danville, Ill., home to earn extra money during the Depression. Even then, his material included Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady.”

Within two years, Mr. Short graduated to playing Chicago under his nickname, the “Miniature King of Swing.”

Mr. Short played the vaudeville circuit: St. Louis, Milwaukee, Kansas City. On one date, he teamed with Louis Armstrong. And by age 12, he was headlining Manhattan nightclubs and regular engagements at the Apollo Theatre.

But Mr. Short, afraid of missing out on his youth, returned to his hometown and his high school. Four years later, still a teenager, Mr. Short was back performing; by 1948, he had a regular gig at a tony Los Angeles club, the Cafe Gala.

Three years there left Mr. Short in what he called “a velvet rut,” and he left the United States for gigs in London and Paris. His success overseas led to an album for Atlantic Records.

During the 60’s, Mr. Short’s audience began to shrink. The Beatles and the British Invasion dominated music; suburban flight and urban crime cut into the nightclub business.

He overcame those woes in 1968 with an extraordinary concert featuring singer Mabel Mercer in Manhattan’s Town Hall; their live album became a success. He signed a deal with the Cafe Carlyle in the same year: six nights a week, eight months a year at the lounge inside the posh East 76th Street hotel. In 2003, he celebrated his 35th anniversary there.

As times changed and popular music shifted from Sinatra to Springsteen to Snoop Dogg, Mr. Short remained irrevocably devoted to the “great American songbook”: songs by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, the Gershwins, Billy Strayhorn, Harold Arlen.

His fans inevitably included New York’s rich and famous: Norman Mailer and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the 1970’s, Barbara Walters and Dominick Dunne in the new millennium.

Mr. Short, despite his veneration of the classics, was no nostalgia act. His musical taste, like his smooth voice and elegant wardrobe, was always impeccable. As an ambassador of vintage songs, Mr. Short played the White House for presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Clinton.

He was nominated for a Grammy in 2000 for “You’re the Top: Love Songs of Cole Porter.” In 1993, he was nominated for “Late Night at the Cafe Carlyle.”

He appeared in the movies “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “Splash,” along with the television miniseries “Roots” and the program “In The Heat of the Night.”

While suffering from a vocal problem in 1970, Mr. Short began work on an autobiography, “Black and White Baby.” In 1995, he updated his memoirs with “Bobby Short: The Life and Times of a Saloon Singer.”

Mr. Short never married. He is survived by his adopted son Ronald Bell and brother Reginald Short.

This was edited from the Associated Press’s obituary.

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Dr. Vern Whitney

Dr. Vern Whitney, 84, a trombonist and arranger, and an 802 member since 1945, died on Feb. 27.

A native of Tampa, Dr. Whitney played with a long list of bands between 1943 and 1953, including Frankie Masters, Charlie Spivak, Jimmy Dorsey, Les Elgart, Ray Bloch, George Paxton, Sammy Kaye and Eddie Condon.

When he retired from full-time music, he became an educator in the field of foreign language teaching. Dr. Whitney attended five different universities and earned four college degrees, including a doctorate from Columbia.

He ended his academic career in 1982 when he retired as a professor on the faculty of the University of South Florida.

Survivors include his wife Betty, son Scott, daughter Lee Ann, and three grandchildren.

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